One Day Out: Prep and Nutrition

So I made it to Sacramento CA, safe and sound.  Only a tornado warning in Hampton Roads VA where we flew out of, a tornado warning in Dulles Airport VA where we had a layover, and a torrential downpour in Sacramento CA when we landed.  But all is well, and all traveling was without major interruption.

I picked up my bike from the local FedEx this morning, reassembled her, and so far no worries.  No damage, bumps, bruises, scratches, or dings.  This was probably my biggest concern but BikeFlights took good care of her so I am a happy camper, at lease until tomorrow morning when I come to the realization that I have to swim in sub 60 water temp, 58 degrees air temp, rain, and 20mph winds.

For now, I relax in the hotel, load up on coconut water, and put together my hydration/nutrition plan for race day.

Race day nutrition is actually the most difficult part of triathlon for me to grasp.  The more you run the faster you get, and the same applies to swimming and cycling (in a general sense).  But not nutrition.  You need to know how much you sweat per hour, how many calories you will need to fuel your race, how you need to configure a plan to carry and/or receive those nutritional requirements on the independent race legs (swim, bike, run), and then practice this plan.  Too much fuel can lead to puking during your race, and to little will lead to cramps, loss of function, or what we triathletes call a “bonk”.

My setup for this race, and hopefully for future races is to take in about 80 carbs per hour in a combination of gels, sports drink, and carb chews.

I estimate the bike will take me three hours to complete.  Every hour I will take a Hammer Gel (Gatorade had some shipping errors with their gels so hammer will have to do for now) at 20mins and 40mins, and eat one carb chew at 0/60mins.  This along with one serving of Gatorade Endurance Formula energy drink will put my total to just over 80carbs per hour.  Since this race is not Ironman Sponsored, I will have one water bottle of a Gatorade Endurance Formula concentrate placed behind my seat to replenish my Gatorade through the race instead of using the race provided sports drink (I think it is HEED).  On my down tube, I will have fresh water to drink to thirst.  A rest stop every 15 miles will refill my aero bottle for Gatorade that I will be drinking and my downtube bottle for water.

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For the run, my main concern is hydration.  A rest stop every 1.5miles will focus solely on water.  I will run with a 12oz hand bottle that is filled with a concentrate of 5 Hammer Gels, 4 servings of Gatorade Endurance Formula mix, and water.  In total, it will  have around 200 carbs only to fill it up.  I will take a small sip every half mile to keep energy constant.  I should have about a third left at the end.

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In transition, I have a water bottle with a mix of Gatorade Endurance Formula and three caffeinated Gels.  A quick drink pre race, and during transitions for some extra energy when transitioning from one discipline to the other.

All in all, I am confident of this plan.  A very active bike in terms of nutrition in hopes of helping me power through the run.  The goal isn’t not to collapse, just to collapse after the finish line.

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